After a very short public attempt at trying to buy West Ham United, PAI Capital have decided to shelve plans for a takeover. This has come after what can only be described as a shambolic attempt at convincing fans that they’re capable of taking the club further than David Gold and David Sullivan.
It is no secret that a large proportion of West Ham fans are eager for the club to change ownership. However, that doesn’t mean to say they’re not bothered whose hands the club falls into next. If anything, that’s more important than the club actually being sold. It simply has to be bought by the right people. They must be able to take this football club forward.
Unfortunately, thanks to several PR disasters, PAI Capital were unable to prove that they were said people. The only positive they have consistently told the fans is that, if they were successful in buying the club, they have an agreement in place with LLDC to also purchase London Stadium. That’s a big bonus, obviously, but not the most important thing fans want to see from the club’s owners.
In their recent statement, they revealed a second bid for the club had been rejected by Sullivan and that they were now going to take a step back from their takeover bid. What they also revealed was that they were preparing to inject £150m into the club for players, training ground development, scouting and the youth academy.
A cash injection is great, but unfortunately it’s going to take a lot more than £150m to do all of the above to a level that is required to take West Ham United forward successfully. Leicester City’s brand new state-of-the-art training ground cost around £100m. Tottenham’s cost around £50m. £150m barely buys four new players in today’s market.
So unfortunately for PAI, saying they were planning to inject £150m into the club only reinforces what fans were beginning to feel about them. That amount of money in this industry is pocket change. It doesn’t get you very far at all. I wrote in last month’s issue that a string of shambolic PR blunders severely tarnished PAI Capital’s reputation amongst a fanbase, a fanbase that was probably the easiest to win over given their current feelings towards the present ownership.
It was the easiest job on their to-do list in all of this and they messed it up at the first hurdle with poorly written statements, using a Man United legend to publicly back them and even getting the team’s name wrong in a message to the fans.
They have admitted that they would be prepared to try again in the future when the time is right for David Sullivan to finally sell up, so we can all be pretty certain this isn’t the last we’ve heard from PAI Capital. But now they have some time to go back to the drawing board and rethink their strategy, because their previous one wasn’t very good at all.